Ever since seeing Jurassic Park at age six, I’ve been fascinated with dinosaurs. I’ll see almost any movie that features them — bonus points if they eat people. So when I heard about Area 407, a found footage movie (something I also love) that featured dinosaurs eating people, I knew I had to see it, despite the polarizing reviews. And I do mean polarizing — the Amazon reviews are split almost in exact fifths:
Area 407 follows sisters Trish (Abigail Schrader) and Jessie (Samantha Lester) on their New Year’s Eve flight home after Christmas break. But when their plane crashes in a remote field, the handful of survivors has to deal with more than just bumps and bruises. There’s something out there in the nearby woods…and from my intro, you can probably guess what it is.
One common complaint about the found footage subgenre is that it’s not always believable for a character to carry a camera around and conveniently shoot whatever needs to be seen. You do have to suspend your disbelief some here — after all, who films the aftermath of a deadly plane crash? But most of the movie takes place in the early hours of 2011, and the protagonist is a teenage girl. So I can buy most of the filming.
In many ways, the story plays out like a typical horror/found footage movie. There’s plenty of suspense and understandable conflict between characters as their situation goes from bad to worse. There’s not much time to develop the characters a great deal, but with one major exception (which I’ll get to in a second) they’re likable enough that you want to see them fight to survive.
The movie’s major problem is that it takes the “annoying character” trope way too far. One particular character, who you’ll meet pretty quickly, goes above and beyond this trope by treating a flight attendant like absolute shit, both before and after the crash. Maybe I’m just biased, since I dealt with people like this all the time back when I had a “real job.” But instead of just knowing in the back of my mind that this character would die, I wanted to shoot them in the head myself.
Overall, though, I recommend Area 407. If you like found footage movies and dinosaurs and don’t mind some annoying characters, it’s probably worth your time.